Fatigued driving inspires serious risks for drivers and others sharing the roadway. It can lead to significant accidents and injuries. Virtually all of those accidents and injuries are fully preventable because an affected driver could have stayed off the road until they were rested enough to drive safely.
Driving while fatigued involves operating a vehicle while too tired to do so safely. Fatigue can severely impair a driver’s cognitive and motor skills, similar to the effects of alcohol or drugs. It can lead to slowed reaction times, decreased vigilance, impaired decision-making and, in some cases, falling asleep at the wheel.
Impairments caused by fatigued driving
Fatigued driving can significantly impair various aspects of driving ability. Tired drivers often have delayed reaction times to unexpected events on the road, such as sudden stops or obstacles. Their ability to concentrate and maintain attention is also compromised, making it challenging to stay aware of changing traffic conditions.
Additionally, fatigue can affect a driver’s ability to make sound judgments and decisions, increasing the likelihood of risky driving behaviors. They may not think clearly and be unable to do things like adjust their speed for current weather or road conditions.
Risks and consequences
One of the most serious risks of fatigued driving is microsleeps. These occur when a driver falls asleep for a short period. While that might not seem like a huge issue, it actually is. When a driver is asleep, the vehicle is essentially moving uncontrolled.
If the driver sleeps for only five seconds, the vehicle may cover substantial distance. At 55 miles per hour, a vehicle will go the length of a football field in that short time. That’s a good enough distance to cause a fatal crash.
For victims of accidents caused by a drowsy driver, the effects can be life-altering, including physical injuries, emotional trauma and financial burdens due to medical bills, lost wages and rehabilitation costs. They may opt to seek compensation to help cover these losses, but compensation can never fully make up for what someone experiences as a result of a preventable, traumatic crash, which is why it is so important to prevent collisions in the first place.